Israel Museum

The War Scroll was one of the first texts discovered in the caves above Qumran and provides a clear example of the sectarian worldview that defined the Essene community. The scroll describes in exacting detail the final apocalyptic confrontation between the righteous and observant Sons of Light and the sinful and disobedient Sons of Darkness, the latter of which included traditional Biblical enemies like Ammon and Moab, as well as more traditional Jewish groups who were seen as “violators of the covenant.” Such a distinct sectarian message, which runs counter to much of the theology of the established Jerusalem priesthood, indicates that the scrolls were a product of the local Essene community, not the remnants of the Temple archive that had been taken to the caves for safety.